Electronic Products & Technology

X-fest FPGA seminar series wraps up with workshop videos available


Electronics CEL

Avnet Electronics Marketing and Xilinx, Inc. have concluded their five-month, 37-city global X-fest technical seminar series - smashing attendance expectations and earning kudos from those involved.

Those who missed the worldwide event can still reap its educational benefits. Videos of the 12 workshops are available online at http://em.avnet.com/xfestvideos (registration required) and are divided into these topics:

• Designing Products for the Human Experience (presented by Avnet’s Bryan Fletcher, right) 
• Designing with the Xilinx Virtex-6 PCIe Gen2 Endpoint Block
• Designing with Xilinx Spartan-6 Gigabit Transceivers and the PCIe Endpoint Block
• FPGA-based Wireless Communications Systems Design
• Fundamentals of FPGA-based Video Design
• High-speed Clocking: Challenges, Pitfalls and Solutions
• Implementing an FPGA-based Peripheral in an Intel® Atom-based System
• Interfacing DDR3 and LPDRAM with the Xilinx Spartan®-6 Hard Memory Controller
• Interfacing to an Analog World
• Powering Xilinx Virtex-6 and Spartan-6
• Xilinx FPGA Co-processing with DSP Processors
• Xilinx Networking: 10/100/1000 to Real-Time

The free one-day training sessions offered practical, how-to system level design instruction featuring the Spartan-6 and Virtex-6 FPGA families from Xilinx, as well as key enabling technologies from leading suppliers including Cypress Semiconductor, Intel, Maxim Integrated Products, National Semiconductor, NXP, Texas Instruments and Tyco Electronics.

Watch the Canadian Electronics video
of the Toronto-area tour stop:


“Despite industry-wide expense reductions, particularly in non-essential travel, X-fest attendance was up 120 percent over projections,” said Tim Barber, senior vice president, design chain business development, worldwide for Avnet Electronics Marketing. Nearly 5,500 attendees came to sites throughout Asia, Europe, North America and Japan from October 2009 through February 2010 to participate in the unique workshop/exposition forum, which brought customers up-to-date on leading-edge technologies and allows them to bring solutions to market more quickly and with greater expertise.

Technology experts from Avnet and Xilinx presented a slate of multi-track training sessions ranging from building block to multi-supplier system level solutions showcasing innovative design techniques, methodologies and reference designs for today’s hottest applications from PCIe and video to wireless and embedded networking.

Attendees said the solutions approach was the biggest draw of the event. “The Avnet X-fest event not only provided a communication platform between IC manufacturers and customers, but also a channel for customers to exchange their design thoughts. X-fest introduced advanced product applications and leading edge design concepts that helped enhance local engineers’ electronic product design capabilities.

It also provided insights into electronic product design and development market trends. Avnet X-fest delivered an in-depth look at the next generation of FPGAs, including a presentation on the performance and impact capabilities of Xilinx FPGAs in terms of inspiring FPGA design innovation and development in China,” said Yu Rui, research and development manager, Run Technologies Co. Ltd. in Beijing, the network security service provider for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

“I have found the X-fest seminars of great use over the last few years and so have other members of my group,” said Spencer Saunders, engineering manager, Platforms Group, at ARM in the U.K. “We try to ensure at least two engineers attend to allow us to get coverage of the many useful parallel tracks. It gives us the ability to see products from other companies that complement the Xilinx FPGA enabling us to make informed decisions about board design and component section. With our development of a dual Virtex 6 prototyping board, this information has been useful and ensured we can develop and deliver in as short a time as possible.”

In addition to the specialized training, X-fest also featured a display of partner exhibits, giving attendees the opportunity to interact directly with factory experts who shared their insights into exciting new products and advanced technologies, and demonstrated the latest development platforms.

“X-fest is a great opportunity for GateRocket to interact with thousands of Xilinx FPGA users,” said Dave Orecchio, CEO of GateRocket. GateRocket participated in select X-fest seminars in North America. “Attendees understand the challenges of FPGA design, and those who visited GateRocket at the conference were excited to learn about our innovative FPGA debugging solutions that can cut the number of Synthesis-Place-Route cycles in the lab by up to 50 percent,” he added. “X-fest also gave us an opportunity to exchange ideas with FPGA users about the latest technologies and to demonstrate our solution for advanced FPGAs.”

“The supply chain’s appetite for solutions is growing. Engineers come to X-fest to learn real-world system design concepts that they can apply directly to the challenges they face back in the lab,” said Barber. “Our unique multi-vendor, technical format creates a one-stop forum for engineers to get multiple supplier representation and the bundled solutions they need to compete in today’s demanding marketplace.”

“X-fest continues to be an ideal place for designers to learn about the latest FPGA and platform innovations that help them solve their various design challenges,” said Tim Erjavec, senior director, Platform Solutions and Services Marketing at Xilinx. “In addition, to help accelerate and simplify their development needs, the event allows designers unparalleled access to the vast ecosystem of third-party vendors that complement and expand the FPGA platform design possibilities.”

Plans are underway for the next X-fest technical seminar series, tentatively scheduled to begin in the Spring or Fall of 2012.

For more information about Avnet, please visit http://www.em.avnet.com/.

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